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Day: August 23, 2011

Rule one in a successful career: Don’t shit on your own doorstep.

Whether I’m a success or not is for other people to decide. My career has stagnated in the past few years because I’ve branched out into something else. My journalism days might be behind me but I still dabble from time to time. One thing I have never done is left anywhere on bad terms. From working on FTT all the way through to my times with Fubra you take the best you can on and try not to burn any bridges. I had many ups and downs when I was Sports Editor over at Fubra but we left on good terms (or so I believe) and you move on.

Now yesterday I saw the most horrendous burning of bridges that I have ever seen. I saw a guy basically take a very public shot at the people who gave him a chance – not only that but also at the whole profession. Saying that bloggers are all bums basically and that proper journalism only happens in newspapers (no nod to the broadcast industry I notice which is total bull crap as they are fantastic journalists) so I thought I’d share it with you.

The man in question is a junior at Penn State university. You might wonder why I’m talking about some kid at a university in the USA and how I came across it. Well I love American Football. In the past five-six years I have got into the College game just as much (if not more so) than the NFL and my allegiances are with Penn State solely for the reason that they do things the right way and I have up most respect for their head coach.

Anyway the biggest PSU blog is called Black Shoe Diaries and is my first stop for Penn State news and opinion. It is a fine blog and has a big staff who don’t just blog opinion and news based off of what they’ve seen on TV and read in the newspapers – they also do quote/unquote ‘real journalism’. Now a couple of months ago the long time editor decided that he wanted to step down as he had plenty of other things on his plate and the big bosses decided on his replacement – and one member of his former staff was pissed that he got passed over. His name is Adam Bittner.

Now I don’t know him from Adam (see what I did there? Yep very lazy blogging with a terrible pun) but clearly he’s not too happy about being passed over for the position of top dog. He has used his position as an editor of the student newspaper The Dally Collegian to basically just slag off bloggers in their entirety and tell the world that proper journalism only happens in newspapers. Read his piece entitled New blog features all sports, all the time wow – just wow.

This has obviously not gone down well in blogging circles and the guy is getting crucified. The comments over at BSD on the fanshot entitled Fooge Finally Cracks says a lot but also a couple of well known bloggers have had their say on prominent blogs stateside Blogger Attacks Blogs In Announcement Of His New Blog and ATTN BROSEPHS AND BROSEPHINES OF BHGP both well worth reading.

The sad thing of this all is it didn’t have to go down like this. He was offered a good position under the new regime but turned it down and heck if he didn’t want to take a perceived step down he could have walked away with a hand shake and got on with things. Instead he decided to crush a profession which is thriving to defend a medium which is dying in the USA. If you think the newspaper industry is struggling over here it is nothing compared to what is going on across the pond.

For the rest of his career (thanks to google) he’ll be known as a guy who shit on a whole section of a profession that he is trying to get into just to satisfy his personal vendetta. That is not going to go down well. There is making a name for yourself a good way and then there is making a name for yourself a bad way. He has done it the bad way. He has put himself in a position where no blogger would ever hire him. He has also shown a shed load of disrespect not to mention disrespect to the newspaper for which he’s working. The publication is being rounded derided on the internet for allowing such a piece to each publication. You can’t use a position to take personal shots at people let alone a profession. Adam Bittner has done this.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out and what kind of career he has but his bile has spilled out very publicly and it is not going to be pretty. I have seen one or two big heads in my past (some may argue I’m a bit of a big head) but those I’ve seen who are happy to drop a media outlet because they perceive they have something better without even so much as a thank you or even acknowledgement to be blunt – suck. You always thank those who help you – that is a bare minimum. If you can’t do that then to be frank you aren’t a very good person and sadly there are too many of these types of people about.

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn set to walk free today and I’m not surprised one jot

So it seems as though Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be a free man later today after state prosecutors decided that they had no realistic chance of conviction and therefore will ask a judge today to officially dismiss all charges. This isn’t a shock to me but it will not go down well in certain circles.

I have no idea what really happened in that hotel room. Only two people do and neither of them are people that I know. There was a sexual encounter that we know but whether it was consensual or not we just do not know. Was this a powerful man getting us own way or a poor maid trying to extort money from a rich man? I don’t know and I won’t profess to know but what I will say is I’m not shocked the charges have been dismissed and this is why.

If the main prosecution witness is not believable then the likelihood of a jury convicting is insanely low. I have sat on two juries in my time. I was juror #7 on a GBH case where two guys were accused of beating up two bouncers outside a nightclub. When the bouncers took the stand all of the jury thought they were fantasists and were at best embellishing what had happened and at worst were just lying. We acquitted the two guys without too much deliberation if I’m being honest on all seven charges relating to the incident. We just didn’t believe the key prosecution witnesses.

The next day I was sworn in as juror #1 and would become foreman of a second case. Ten charges of sexual assault against a minor. It was a step dad on his step-daughter and he was accused of – well you don’t need me to spell it out. It was not a pretty case at all and the 12 year-old alleged victim (11 at the time of the alleged incidents) and we had several people on the jury who thought just because of the crimes we should find the defendant guilty. However there was no scientific evidence and the girl and her mother just were not credible witnesses so we had to find him not guilty (although in all honesty he may well have been guilty – we just didn’t know).

What we knew was the girl first made the allegations when she didn’t get what she wanted for Christmas and that the mother didn’t go to the police until the girl went back to school and other mother’s told her that she should. So first of all we had a daughter that seemingly was lashing out because she didn’t get what she wanted for Christmas and secondly her own mother clearly didn’t believe her daughter because she didn’t go to police for 12 days. If the mother didn’t believe the daughter then how on Earth can 12 member of a jury?

This is similar to what is going on in the DSK case. The main prosecution witness is clearly not credible as she has been a proven liar on her asylum forms and she has changed her story on what happened in the hotel room on several occasions in the aftermath of his arrest and she first went to the police. It was never credible and no matter what scientific evidence is there if you do not believe the victim beyond reasonable doubt then you just can’t expect to get a conviction.

The Maid’s lawyer, Ken Thompson, was not happy one jot about the decision saying, “The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, has denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case. He has not only turned his back on this victim but he has also turned his back on the forensic, medical and other physical evidence in this case. If the Manhattan district attorney, who is elected to protect our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our wives and our loved ones, is not going to stand up for them when they’re raped or sexually assaulted, who will?”

I can see his PoV considering who his client is but if his client hadn’t changed her story and lied before then the DA could have carried on with the case. She may well have been raped but the law is (rightly) weighted so that you need to prove a case and you could not prove this case.

It is sad it came down to this as some people will see this as another reason to say why rapists get away with their crimes more than they should. The conviction rate for rape is all too low and so is the rate where women even go to the police as they never expect a conviction but this has nothing to do with the crime but everything to do with the victim’s credibility as a witness. If you lie and change your story repeatedly then how can you ever be seen as credible?

I am personally surprised it took so long but I fear for my twitter timeline and I expect it to blow up later on today when he is formally freed from house arrest and the charges dismissed. I wonder just how many people if they were on a jury would convict without believing the key prosecution witness. I suspect not many and those that do are not good jurors.

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Lib Dem Blog of the Year Awards 2011 – Get Nominating Now!

As those of you in the Lib Dem blogosphere will know the Lib Dem Blog of the Year awards are now open for 2011. I am a Lib Dem blog therefore I shall be taking part and putting forward some nominations for the various categories. It wouldn’t be a total shock if I vote for similar blogs to the ones I voted for in the Total Politics Awards the other day.

As for me and this blog getting any glory. Well I’m not sure this is the best blog out there. Scratch that. It flat out isn’t. However I do think I should at least get talked about for the Best New Lib Dem Blog category. Whether it is good enough to win is by the by but I think I have written a few good pieces in the past year. Enough to get noticed anyway.

The one category where I think I could seriously make a run at is the Best posting on a Liberal Democrat blog (since 1st September 2010) one. My piece decrying the reaction of twitter to Ken Clarke and his rape comments I thought was more than half decent. The piece entitled Ken Clarke – A trial by social media is still by far the biggest blog post I have had in terms of visitors and on the day I wrote it it smashed by blog records by over 2000% in terms of traffic.

What I think though really isn’t important. I’m not on the judging panel (and I might be slightly biased towards myself) The judges will consider all the nominations and to nominate please follow the advice behind this link for all the categories and details on how to take part and get your voice heard.

Whatever happens my nonsensical ramblings about whatever fills my mind will continue. Exciting pieces such as ‘Wow…Gary Neville isn’t a complete moron’ won’t write themselves…

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.